Jodhpur court convicted Bollywood actor Salman Khan and acquitted actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu in 1998 Blackbuck poaching case.
Salman Khan, 52, faced charges under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and the other actors have been charged under Section 51 read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code. Maximum punishment under Section 51 is six years.
The actors were accused of hunting down two blackbucks in Bhagoda ki Dhani in village Kankani near Jodhpur on the intervening night of October 1 and 2, 1998. The actors were in the city for the shooting of the film ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’. Public Prosecutor Bhawani Singh Bhati said there was sufficient evidence against the actors.
Elaborate security arrangements were made in and outside the court premises ahead of the verdict. Final arguments in the case were completed in the trial court on March 28, after which Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri had reserved the judgment to be pronounced on April 5. All the actors arrived the city and were present in court during pronouncement of the verdict.
Bollywood icon Salman Khan has been sentenced to five years in jail after a court in Jodhpur convicted him of killing two blackbucks 19 years ago.
He has also been slapped with a fine of Rs 10,000. Salman will now have to approach the Rajasthan High Court in order to get bail since his punishment exceeds three years, meaning he will spend tonight in jail. Salman is likely to be kept in the same barrack where the rapist self-proclaimed Goodman, Asaram Bapu is incarcerated.
The chief judicial magistrate rural court in Jodhpur had recently completed final hearings and reserved its judgment in the case that has been in trial stage for 19 and a half years.
The Bishnoi community known for their love for the environment had filed a complaint against the actors and a local involved in the shooting.
The actor was also charged for keeping an arm with an expired license and was charged under the Arms Act in which he was acquitted in by a trial court in January 2017.
There were two more cases against Salman Khan for allegedly killing two chinkaras (Indian Gazelle) but here also actor was acquitted by Rajasthan High Court in July 2016 for the poaching of the chinkara. However, prosecutors have challenged his acquittal in a higher court which is currently pending in the SC.